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“The Boys” Season 4, Episode 2 Recap

The boys

Life among the septics

Season 4

Episode 2

Editor’s note

3 stars

Photo: Jasper Savage/Prime Video

Ultimately, will we view season four as the season of trauma? Many stories currently revolve around our main characters’ pasts and the struggle to overcome old mistakes and move forward. Maybe it’s just a common theme in general, especially on The boysbut it seems particularly pronounced this season, with the word “trauma” dropped by both Kimiko’s therapist and Hughie in this episode.

Hughie’s trauma is probably the most common: his mother left him and his father when he was six, breaking a million promises, both stated and unspoken. He can’t let this go as she displays her essential oils in her father’s hospital room, revealing that Hugh Sr. gave her power of attorney and signed a DNR. When Hughie returns next, he tells his mother about the broken promise close to his heart: she said she would get them Billy Joel tickets, and then she completely disappeared. He even threatens to challenge her in court if she does not involve him in all future medical decisions.

While Hughie spends most of the episode muttering imaginary comebacks out loud and completely ignoring most of the world around him, Annie’s main concerns (like keeping her Starlighters safe) are at again directly linked to the mission. She knows that A-Train must be responsible for framing two innocent Black Starlighters for the murders of the three Hometeamers, so she and Hughie stake out a park where A-Train always goes to on Sunday afternoons. Taking a break from his own problems, Hughie helps remind Annie that symbols hold power and that she could use the Starlight persona for good if she gets past all the Vought baggage it represents in her mind.

A-Train is clearly on some sort of path to redemption, and at this point it’s just a question of whether he would completely turn around and help stop Homelander directly. The guy is more and more disgusted by his position within the Seven every day, and he loses the few relationships he had, this time his two nephews, whose brother forbids them from seeing their uncle again. It’s hard to blame Nate for his decision, and he’s not at all wrong when he accuses A-Train of lying about all of his stops. But I have some empathy for A-Train during these scenes because he do wants to change, even if he is slow to put these desires into action. But his reward for Hughie and Annie is a good start: because they didn’t reveal themselves or get involved during the confrontation in the park, A-Train shows up at his base to transmit footage from security cameras. safety of accused Starlighters. This proves their innocence and they are released.

The root of Frenchie’s trauma is more unusual than Hughie’s, to put it mildly: years ago, probably around the time he was employed by Little Nina, he murdered the man’s entire family with who he’s dating now. We don’t find out until Frenchie’s big final scene in this episode, when he snorts crushed pills and FaceTimes with his old friend Cherie to talk about his guilt. But it’s pretty easy to figure out from context clues, so just watch him fend off Kimiko’s good-natured encouragement until he can admit the truth to someone. Cherie suggests that his pursuit of Colin is part of a pattern of “taking in strays,” like he did with Kimiko, and she’s right. I can’t think of many worse boyfriend options as the only surviving member of a family you massacred back in the day. This is an “it just happened!” scenario. » that’s really not enough.

The big exceptions to the past theme so far are Homelander and his son Ryan, both of whom have their own complex internal conflicts to worry about. This is probably why this is the most successful subplot of the episode: you know that Ryan’s first staged save will most likely go horribly wrong (I said, “he’ll throw way too hard” out loud), but it’s fascinating to follow her and her father’s evolving emotional reactions along the way.

Homelander’s paternal pride, for example, depends on Ryan co-starring; being perceived as aging and increasingly disconnected plays a role in his ongoing midlife crisis, and it is only with great reluctance that he initially signs a call sheet without his own name on it. But this obviously does not hold. When it’s time to get down to business, Homelander surprises Ryan by showing up in the middle of his save, causing Ryan to lose his game. When he pushes the stuntman like they had choreographed, his super strength sends the actor racing down a block down the street, splashing against a building. Ryan is naturally scarred by this experience, which Homelander does not understand at all.

In addition to strong characters, this story also features some fun world-building: we get a glimpse of how the staging of backups takes place, with Ryan as the audience surrogate and entry point into the process. (I imagine Generation V might offer more opportunities.) This episode really hammers home that this practically goes beyond Never save lives, both with A-Train and with Homelander. (“I saved a lot of people,” he insists, unconvincingly.)

The main story of this episode, however, is a trip to Harrisburg for a QAnon-type conference called TruthCon, where each variety of racist conspiracy theorist has its own diorama. The child trafficking schemes are quite triggering for Kimiko, who has seen various therapists about her selective mutism. It all comes back, yes, to her trauma: the Shining Light Liberation Army killed Kimiko’s parents and forcibly conscripted her and her brother, sending them to America to become super soldiers. Like everyone else this season, Kimiko obviously needs to confront her past, and in a healthier way than attacking anyone who trivializes her experience, no matter how much they deserve it. With a possible new cell in the region, she will have many chances.

But the real anchor of this story is probably the power struggle between Mother’s Milk and Butcher, the former of whom officially fires the latter after Butcher shares the news of his illness. I understand MM’s point: Boucher East more handicapping than ever, and he seems even less capable of respecting authority than before. But I’d like to see less of MM’s anger and frustration and more of the internal conflict: the preemptive shock and grief of losing a man he considered a close friend (on and off) over the years. “Life Among the Skeptics” Doesn’t Have Much Time to Show anybody really dealing with Butcher’s situation, which is a missed opportunity – especially for Hughie, who could lose both his real father and a father figure of sorts. I understand his fixation on his parents, but there’s something missing here.

Against MM’s orders, Butcher shows up at the same hotel where they followed Sister Sage. There, they witness “alt-supe” Firecracker’s deranged two-hour presentation on “Starlight and the Hollywood Pedophile Cabal.” Sage is there because she recognizes her potential: she sees that Firecracker is there to sell aim to people who have nothing and feel ignored by their government. This is essentially an audition for a spot in the Seven, and Firecracker can secure a spot if she does just one thing for Homelander: kill the CIA deep state moles who have infiltrated this event. Sage knew MM was following her here all along.

The fight that follows is quite amusing, mainly thanks to the inspired craziness of Splinter (Rob Benedict), a middle-aged man. Petard simp who has the ability to spontaneously generate new clones of himself which violently tear off the side of his body. Soon, dozens of naked Splinters attack, and the battle spills out into the world. Mrs. Maisel– bat mitzvah theme next door (a funny Prime Video synergy). In the end, the Boys win, mainly thanks to the fact that Butcher disobeyed orders and showed up to save their asses and impale the “first” Splinter with a crowbar. Unfortunately, this is still not enough to deserve more than a brief thank you from MM, who remains firm in his decision.

I wanted The boys I’ve been wanting to slow down and focus more on the character drama for a while now, so I’m interested in this direction for the story. It remains to be seen where exactly season four will devote most of its energy. We haven’t had the most exciting start, but I hope the series can escape that “trauma plot” designation and take its time where it really counts.

• “I don’t give off too much Blind side atmosphere, isn’t it? The opening scene of A-Train opposite Will Ferrell is quite funny, with director Adam Bourke (the returning PJ Byrne) insisting that it’s not a white savior story.

• We also just saw Bourke teaching at Godolkin Generation V, penance for exposing himself in front of Minka Kelly. But I guess audiences got over it pretty quickly, because they’re back to making super sanitized biopics based on a true story.

• In case you’ve forgotten (you certainly have), Hughie explained to Annie in the season two finale that he and his mother danced together to Billy Joel before she ditched him.

• Homelander’s quick smile for a selfie amid inner turmoil is probably the funniest acting moment of the episode.

• I’m curious to see how far the show pushes this idea of ​​Deep’s inflated ego, which could be promising, especially for the acting opportunities it provides for an ever-playing Chace Crawford. (Sa growth since Gossip Girl, as always, makes me proud.) And I’m intrigued by Sage’s involvement. By sowing seeds of resentment and swelling the depths, does she hope to eventually take Ashley’s place?

• I like that we get to see more of Kimiko’s funny side, like when she drinks eight beers and drunkenly sends an eggplant emoji to Colin from Frenchie’s phone. “You should put your penis somewhere!”

• Splinter’s image Human Centipede-a train of ass-eating clones (with the front version jerking off to footage of Firecracker) is certainly something to see, and it reminds me of an old Philosoraptor meme. But I ask myself a lot of questions about how each member experiences it. On second thought, I prefer not to think about it.

• I enjoyed the photobooth images of Kimiko and Firecracker’s fights.

• Here’s a question: Did Sage really think her “final audition” idea was foolproof? And will Firecracker’s failure to complete her mission disqualify her from the Seven, or has she proven her mettle all the same?

• Splinter’s final words: “We loved you from your first Holocaust prank video.”